Can't decide between chips and roast potatoes? You can have both with these baked little beauties! The golden, crispy outer 'petals' enclose a meltingly tender heart. While they may take a little time to put together, the admiring applause you're sure to receive more than makes up for it.
4 large potatoes (a waxy variety is best for this dish -- Dutch Creams would be perfect, but Nicola and Golden Delight would also work well.)
4-6 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed (optional)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs, such as rosemary or dill (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh herbs sprigs to garnish (thyme, rosemary, or parsley are good)
Brush 4 ramekins with olive oil and cut out a piece of non-stick baking paper to line the bottom.
Peel the potatoes and slice them on a v-slicer or mandolin at about the 3mm setting. You can do this by hand if you must, but a v-slicer makes it a breeze! (If you don't have a v-slicer and can't face cutting the potatoes by hand, check out our recipe for Crunchy Potato Crescents instead!)
Rinse the potato slices in a colander under cold water, then drain and place into a large pot. Add enough cold water to just cover the potatoes, then bring to the boil. Immediately reduce the heat to a high simmer and cook the slices for about 3-5 minutes until just tender with a bit of bite still. Keep an eye on them -- you don't want them falling apart! Drain carefully then spread on a clean tea towel to cool and dry out a little.
While you're waiting for the potatoes to cool, preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Put the olive oil in a small bowl, and stir through the crushed garlic and herbs, if using, and a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Pat the potato slices dry, then dip or brush each side into the olive oil. Start forming overlapping 'petal' layers around the outside of your oiled ramekins, working inwards, until the ramekin is full. Repeat until you've made all four potato flowers.
Put the ramekins on a biscuit tray and pop into the oven for around half an hour, then turn up the heat and blast those roses for another 10-15 minutes at 220 degrees C to crisp up the top and give your flowers a golden glow. Watch this last 10-15 like a hawk to make sure the tops don't burn!
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving, with a fresh herb sprig on top.
Note: You can also make this as one large 'rose', in an oiled, round roasting dish. Just be aware that you will need to increase the cooking time to anything between 1-1 1/2 hours, depending on the size of your dish.
Try replacing one of the potatoes with the equivalent of sweet potato slices to make two-tone 'rose' petals.